ABC will air prime-time performances from the CMA Music Festival
Luke Bryan and Kimberly Perry, lead singer for the Band Perry, have been confirmed as hosts for "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock," a prime-time network special that will feature performances from the Nightly Concert series scheduled for Nashville's LP Field during the 2012 CMA Music Festival. ABC will air the three-hour program on Monday, Sept. 17, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET/PT.
Now a fixture on the network's annual slate of music-related shows, the CMA Festival show draws from four consecutive nights of performances staged at the outdoor stadium for fans attending the annual gathering of country fans for autograph signings, fan club meetings, convention center displays and hundreds of hours of live music. The LP Field concerts will be captured from June 7 through June 10.
"The entire town of Nashville turns into one big party, and performing at LP Field becomes one of the best shows we play all year," Bryan notes of the event, created by the Country Music Association in 1972 as Fan Fair. Over the years, the event has expanded far beyond its initial run at Nashville's Municipal Auditorium and now features an estimated 400 acts that converge on the country music capitol. From its original audience of 5,000, the CMA Fest has grown to draw a daily attendance of more than 65,000 fans from across the U.S. and overseas.
Scheduled for LP Field sets are major artists including Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Rascal Flatts, Brantley Gilbert, Hunter Hayes, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Scotty McCreery, Jake Owen, Brad Paisley, Pistol Annies, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Zac Brown Band. Artists appearing on the September special have not yet been announced.
Luke Bryan was nominated in 2010 and 2011 for New Artist of the Year at the CMA Awards. His most recent album, "Tailgates & Tanlines," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard country albums chart and at No. 2 on the trade journal's Top 200 albums chart.
Perry performs in the Band Perry with brothers Reid and Neil Perry. The trio won multiple CMA Awards in 2011, including New Artist of the Year and Single of the Year.
The CMA Festival prime-time special debuted on CBS in 2004 and moved the following year to ABC, which also airs the CMA Awards. "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" expanded to three hours in 2009 and last year drew an average audience of 7 million viewers to win its time period.